Worth buying? 2015 La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion

I’ve been trying to find second wines worth buying. A local store has a couple of these at what appears to be good pricing relative to market. Is the La Chapelle de LMHB one of the better second wines? I’m awfully tempted, but have never tried any vintage of this bottling. I’ve read the CT reviews and the professional reviews, but I tend to trust my fellow Berserkers the most. Thoughts/Opinions?

The magazines and pricing seem to suggest that the quality of Bordeaux second wines is on the rise, but I could never get myself interested in any of them. It always seemed like there was better QPR in other producers than in the seconds.

But again, I never buy them, so my hunch about the value proposition is just that, a hunch. I’ll be interested to hear what others with experience have to say.

Historically, I’ve had the same opinion, Chris. But the second from Montrose inspired me to give Bdx. seconds another go, and a couple bottles of the 2000 La Sargent de Gruaud Larose have been excellent, too.

I’ve loved LMHB the couple times I’ve had it; sadly, that Grand Vin is nearly always out of my price range.

After the pandemic, if you are in Noo Yawk, we can open some 1989, 1990, and 2005.

I would enjoy that, Victor. Cheers! [cheers.gif]

I can’t speak to the second wine of LMHB but had the 2015 Alter Ego (Chateau Palmer’s second) a couple weeks back and it was delicious after a couple hour decant. My local store had it on sale for $55 which I thought was an excellent value.

The 2012 was god-awful. Seriously shocked me how bad it was. Haven’t had (and wouldn’t buy) the 2015

I appreciate that, Neal. Thank you. [cheers.gif]

I have had the 2008 two months ago. A very one note wine. Simple, no interesting notes to taste. There was no nose. This seemed like a $20 -$30 bordeaux. I will not buy again.

Thanks, Mike. Your input is very helpful. [cheers.gif]

I loved the 2012. Initially I thought I had opened a dud but it got substantially better over time. It was very herbacious and a little earthy and that was what I was hoping for.

The 2013 as well.

I have only tried a few seconds, but have been disappointed or was “meh”. Now, I mostly either look for off-vintages or lower tier Bordeauxs instead and found the top wines from 2-5CC Chateau (or some not even ranked) seem to be better than the seconds. Again, small sample size. I’m sure there are a few seconds that punch above the others, but I only have so much time and money with which to experiment.

I bought three of the ‘15s and have only tried one. It was oaky, modern and not my taste. That was a couple of years ago so maybe the oak will settle but it was not my style. Of course I also thought the same about the ‘16 Clarence HB and I love HB. Would buy the Dame de Montrose for less any day.

Ooh that’s good to know about Clarence HB. Thanks for the note Paul. Surprised to hear that both '15 La Chapelle and '16 Clarence were oaky. Rarely find that in Bdx but my sample size may be a lot smaller than others here.

Let me clarify that it is a riper, more modern style than the grand vin. I looked up the oak in the Clarence and it is 35% new, Chapelle 20-25% so these are not Napa levels.

What is the current retail price of this second wine?

We buy these as well and find them to be great QPR.

There are good second wines, but compared to first wines of lesser estates, imo they’ve come up short in QPR. I avoid them unless I’m simply looking to scratch the itch of a particular “house style.”

It also seems that many of the bad experiences have been with the second wine in a more challenging/less ideal vintage (08, 12, 13 in this case). And i know they arent bad vintages, but not the best either. I might suspect that the best time to go with the wine that gets the ‘leftovers’ are in good vintages where even the stuff that doesnt make the first pass is pretty good. Reactions to that?